Written by Ebere Gomwalk-Ijere
As a Nigerian living in diaspora I always come home more than once a year. The Covid-19 made this impossible this year till the airports were opened by the authorities. A relief to so many but very few of us knew how difficult it would be to come home and how expensive as well.
The stress and sometimes trauma was enough to make one decide never to come back home again.
As I prepared my suitcases excited but apprehensive of this journey, I was embarking on, due to all I had heard by the first travelers.
So, I asked myself once again should I really come home during this crisis and was it worth the stress and efforts. I researched on all the requirements that were asked of us, the travelers.
The documents we needed to take along as well as the tests that needed to be carried out. From my enquires I needed to take the Covid-19 test that was not taken more than 98hours before, 120 hours maximum but preferably 120 hours.
Coming from Switzerland and since this is for my personal use, I had to pay a fee of 120 Swiss francs for the test. On receipt of my result, I uploaded this on the Nigerian NCDC portal and a confirmation was sent to me and a receipt form a laboratory. I got my QR code that I needed to travel into Switzerland. This cost 50400 naira. I was also sent an email to take the test in 7 days and this would cost 50400 naira. Before I leave the test needs to be taken and uploaded on the Nigerian NCDC portal and the confirmation sent, with my QR code and this I will use to travel out, back to Switzerland.
My trip into Nigeria was one of the best ever. I hardly had any stress coming into Lagos, all my documents were with me, I passed the customs and immigrations with no difficulty. My thoughts were, the Covid-19 had cleaned up these airports. We had fewer people hanging around doing nothing, sorry to say and we were not harassed by officials seeking for assistance and bribes. It’s not a perfect scenario but it is much better than before, this shows that if we really want to have law and order in our country we can have it.
The Covid-19 virus did this but this is humanly possible.
Why am I writing all this? Not to narrate to you on how I travelled into Nigeria but to ask the authorities a few questions. It is clearly evident that the requirements to travel into Nigeria are highly blown and exaggerated by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the NCDC.
Why should I have a valid Covid-19 negative test that I paid for in Switzerland at 120 dollars which is equivalent to 50000 naira and I upload it on the Nigerian NCDC portal, I am asked to pay another sum of 50,400 naira?
The email confirmation was automatically sent back with my QR code in a matter of seconds. Now reflect on this, who controlled that my test was valid and how come it came back so fast? Why should we after seven days take another test? And we are still asked to pay and as we travel out, another test has to be taken at our own cost.
This means anyone coming into Nigeria will pay a minimum of 200000 naira per trip. If we calculate the number of planes coming in a week then we can say between 150 to 200 million naira is paid to the NCAA and NCDC weekly.
Nigeria copies policies put in by the western world but they will add a way to rip off the common man in any way they can.
Bear in mind that I just filled an online document free of charge to travel to London, the same form I filled on the NCDC portal.
I would dare to say that this sums up to corruption and the violation of the rights of the common man in this country. What are all these millions being extorted out of us Nigerians in diaspora be used for?
Hearing all this many Nigerians in Diaspora do not want to come home again, I don’t blame them. We have once again shown our true nature and how the only interest we have is ourselves and our own pockets. Our corrupt system in all domains leaves no room for progress and a better Nigeria.
Many have used the Covid-19 to enrich themselves, while the masses suffer and are impoverished, a few enrich themselves.
I would say good luck to them, for we finally pay back what we sow in due season.
Written by Ebere Gomwalk-Ijere